Lachlan Murdoch pays Crikey $1.3m costs over aborted defamation suit

Media executive Lachlan Murdoch has paid Australian publisher Private more than a million dollars in legal costs incurred during his aborted defamation suit against Crikey.

Mr Murdoch, CEO of Fox Corporation, has paid more than 1.3 million to Crikey’s publisher Private Media – in excess of the $1.1 million requested by the publisher.

The payment is made on the condition that Private Media donate the $588,735 it raised from a Crikey fundraising campaign to the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, according to Crikey.

Mr Murdoch dropped his defamation case against tCrikey and several of its editors and executives in April.

The decision to end the case came after Fox News and Dominion Voting reached a last-minute settlement in a billion-dollar defamation case in a US court, in the final minutes before a trial was due to begin.

Mr Murdoch launched legal action against Crikey publisher Private Media in the Federal Court in August 2022 claiming it defamed him in referring to his family as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the US Capitol riots.

The action related to a June 29 opinion piece that was taken down and then posted back online on August 15.

Crikey political editor Bernard Keane, former editor-in-chief Peter Fray, chairman Eric Beecher and CEO Will Hayward were also named in the lawsuit.

ON Tuesday, Mr Murdoch’s lawyer, John Churchill, said he had paid $1,306,739.36 to “enable Private Media to keep its commitment to donating all the funds raised through a GoFundMe page to The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom”.

“Crikey admitted that there is no truth to the imputations that were made about Mr Murdoch in the article and Mr Murdoch remains confident that the court would have ultimately found in his favour,” Mr Churchill said.

Mr Hayward said he was “delighted” to be able to pass the on the funds donated by Crikey’s supporters.

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